Friday, May 16, 2008

Favorite Spot Friday: Honeymoon Island State Park

The pioneers called it Hog Island, but it became Honeymoon Isle in 1939 when a New York developer built 50 palm - thatched bungalows for honeymooners.

Honeymoon sounds much nicer than Hog, I must admit.
Today, visitors can drive across Dunedin Causeway to enjoy the sun - drenched Gulf beaches, mangrove swamps, and tidal flats.
Nature lovers will find osprey nests, a wide variety of shorebirds, and one of the few remaining virgin slash pine forests in South Florida.
The park boasts several nature trails and bird observation areas.
Visitors can swim, fish, and snorkel in the warm waters of the Gulf or picnic while they enjoy the beautiful scenery.
Shelling is particularly good here, as the Gulf currents deposit an incredible variety of seashells on the shore. Showers are available and the park´s concession has a gift shop and snack bar- which has good food and great drinks! You can't take alcohol onto the beach, but can drink on the porch of the snack bar area.
Located at the extreme west end of State Road 586 in Pinellas County, Florida- just north of Clearwater and west of Tampa.
There is also a ferry that takes you across the hurricane pass to Caladesi Island that runs on the hour.
The last hurricane to hit the county separated Caladesi Island from what is now Honeymoon.
One of the few completely natural islands along Florida´s Gulf Coast, Caladesi´s white sand shores have been rated as one of the nation´s best beaches. The park is accessible only by private boat or ferry from Honeymoon Island State Park.
Beach lovers can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing. Saltwater anglers can fish from their boats or throw a line out into the surf. Nature enthusiasts watch wildlife while hiking the three mile nature trail through the island´s interior or paddling a three mile kayak trail through the mangroves and bay.
We saw lots of wildlife and many dolphins each time we visited Honeymoon and Caladesi.
I was there almost every weekend in the spring and fall making beach portraits for families and my kids.
It is a natural, still rustic, unspoiled piece of Florida's nature coast that is pure and un-commercialized.

Honeymoon Island is one of the most relaxing places I have ever been. It was a mere 7 miles from my home and only a mile from mine and my son's school
in MY favorite little town of Florida, Ozona.....which I will write about soon as well- because it has my favorite restaurant!
I watched many sunsets fade into the beautiful horizon to end a wonderful Florida day from its shores.
I have a huge glass bowl of assorted shells we collected all the times we were there.
About the only thing I do not like is the big sign that greets you as you enter.
DANGER: Rattlesnakes are very common on the Island.
But we never saw one.

If you are just traveling to the strip of gulf coast towns so commercialized in Florida, you are missing some of the true beauty and serenity that is truly Florida.
There are so many county and state parks all over the state that or worth checking out.
Here is the link to the Honeymoon Island page on the State parks website. You can look at all the great parks from this page, including Caledesi.
Pinellas County also lists the county parks, some more of my favorite beaches are listed there as well.
Can you tell I am missing my Florida home a bit on this Friday afternoon?

And if you check out my photography website, and visit the photogallery....almost all these beach portraits were at Honeymoon.

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